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Career change: how to switch industries

Posted by: Peter Jackson

Wanting to work in a different sector? You’re not alone. A lot of us want to change industries, but it can be a problem knowing where to start.

Indeed surveyed 662 full-time U.S. workers from a variety of industries and educational levels, a whopping 65% say they’re either thinking about, or have previously considered, switching industries.

Not everyone is in such a rush to jump ship though. The three main reasons people avoid making the switch are:

  • Experience/qualifications
  • Money
  • Difficulty

If you doubt your experience qualifications

When you feel unsure or un-confident, it’s easy to do nothing and hope that things change. Worrying and over thinking won’t bring new career opportunities, only tangible actions will. Here’s our how to guide to overcome your concerns about your qualifications:

  1. Do your research into what you need to succeed in other industries by looking at qualifications, experience and skills on job posts that interest you. If you’re not sure which career path to take, explore multiple possible career pathways and reach out to experts in the industry though networking sites like LI.
  2. Take small steps. Work out the steps you can take today, tomorrow and each week to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
  3. Revisit your CV and work out the skills and experience you already have which other industries will value. If you’re lacking skills in core areas, take a short course and do some self-learning to help fill in the gaps in your qualifications/experience. Potential employers will respect and recognise the effort you have put in.

If your financial situation is holding you back

Switching industries may result in a drop in pay, especially if you move to an industry you are less experienced in. Effectively, you’ll be starting at the bottom of the ladder. It’s important to ask yourself how much your value your current lifestyle and if it’s worth staying in your current role or industry for. Try to think about what other ways you could cut costs and review budget adjustments to ensure a career change will work out.

Slowly exposing yourself to your new career could be the best way to get started. Is it possible you could explore a new industry as a side job while you continue to have a reliable and steady income from your current job? Think about the long term. Your salary will likely take a hit if you change sectors, but there are several ways you can stretch and boost your income to make sure a career change is financially viable.

If it feels like too much of an up-hill struggle

Changing industries is by no means an easy task and it will take a lot of effort, but anything in life worth having is worth working for. It’s important to reflect on past successes and acknowledge the changes you’ve already made to get to your current role. You’ve had the drive and desire to get there before, you’ll certainly be able to get there again in your new industry.

Not everyone likes change, but short-term discomfort often leads to a greater reward in the long run. One of the best ways to get over your fear is by having a clear vision and a plan of the outcome. Someone once told me to write notes of ambitions and goals and stick them all round the house, so that you are always reminded of what you’re working towards.

Will changing careers give you more job satisfaction, money and a better work life balance? Will changing careers give you more fulfilment, more money, more flexibility? By keeping this in mind, it’s much easier to start to move towards your goal and you’ll be able to switch careers with confidence. 

If you’re still left with reservations about leaving your current job and embarking on a new challenge, then why not give us a call to discuss it? You speak to a dedicated Recruiter with specialist knowledge of the Energy, Mining or Marine sectors, who’ll be able to offer you an insight into the job market. We talk to people about new opportunities every day so, trust us, we know our stuff and can guide you while you through this important decision.


WRS is a global workforce solutions and mobilisation company, specialising in the mining, maritime, construction, commodities, IT and energy industries. If you are considering your next move, register your details, send us your CV or you can simply take a look at our latest vacancies.

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